Sunday, November 30, 2008

Happy Squin Day!

Yet another birthday wish to my shining superstar, party dress-upper, omellette and pancake maker, move-busting, astagheez carrier, lover under cover!


Happy Birthday Squin. Happy panjee! Chawwi is not too far behind, so you will only be 2 years older than me for 29 more days. Haha :)

Sunday, November 23, 2008


The Jaffer Memorial is an annual hockey tournament which takes place in the grounds next to my office building. It was the 42nd (or 44th, but 42nd sounds better) year this year and Abbu on his way to work told me how he had played in the tournament when he was in school! So most of our lunch breaks since last week were spent on the sidelines of the hockey field, silently cheering on our teams (our loyalties were usually based on our preference of team uniform or colors more than anything else) and in general my love for sports and sporty boys. Boys in suits or boys playing sports. Or rather make that men.

So, I sat with my back towards the sun, sipping on my water bottle, trying to reconcile with my aloo ki bhujia and ketchup sandwich watching the Aitchison College hockey team play against Garrison. One of the forwards (don’t know what the hockey equivalent is), who was the tallest amongst the other 5’6” boys, was playing at my side. He caught my eye a couple of times, and I felt almost guilty for being a distraction on the sidelines, for it was a boys school after all, and we all know the feeling of being watched, especially boys by girls and vice versa. Probably not realizing I was a good 7 years older than him (although my casual office look might seem otherwise),the minute the water boy handed him the flask he repeatedly gestured one finger (the index) towards him mouthing “mainay abhi aik kiya hai” a couple of times, ensuring all within earshot could hear, including me. I just grinned to myself, enjoying the teenage feeling or victory, for a moment. Well done Ibrahim!

Tonight I was watching Super Movies because I couldn’t fine anyone in the house (honestly, it seems like everyone had disappeared). A movie called Little Manhattan was on about an 11 year old boy who falls in love for the first time. Shot in a style reminiscent of About a Boy, with most of the script a monologue in the boys head. I always like wisdom coming from unexpected sources, and although this adult written script was hardly from a real boys point of view, I’d like to think kids can feel what grown ups can, in their own special and profound way. For instance at the climax when Gabe realizes Rosemary is all he wants, in spite of telling her he hates her the night before, he has a moment of truth: Suddenly, I knew what I had to do. Love isn't about ridiculous little words. Love is about grand gestures. Love is about airplanes pulling banners over stadiums, proposals on jumbo-trons, giant words in sky writing. Love is about going that extra mile even if it hurts, letting it all hang out there. Love is about finding courage inside of you that you didn't even know was there.

Personally, I’m partial to sky writing. And boys in suits. Or boys playing sports.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bibi Nahee

(Disclaimer: this is v.v. badly written, from the desk opposite my boss)

The issue at hand is the word ‘No’. On our usual drive back home after work, amma and I were discussing the ‘no’ dilemma and how we have gone the extra mile and bent ourselves backwards, just by saying no to something we should’ve said yes to and vice versa. “Would you like a slice of cake?” Instantly, before even thinking twice “No, thank you, I’m fine” (stomach rumbling with hunger inside); or “Can you (start and) finish this 80 page report by tomorrow?” “Of course, I’ll try to give it to you before Jumma so we have time for editing.” WHY couldn’t I say, “no how about we discuss it on Monday? NGO’s are generally pretty relaxed with deadlines. But , NO. I dare not!

Now I’m trying to start my new job, and leave my current job. I am on a short term contract which ends on the 25th but am feeling guilty for leaving, even though they know I have another job, yet are forcing me to stay part-time. Why can’t I say no, I’m sorry I don’t want to become a crazed workaholic doing 3 jobs at one time, and teaching 3 sections of Pakistan studies; I just want to end my contract and LEAVE? What is wrong with me? And more importantly what the hell is their problem?

Anyhow. I’ll try and figure something out. Right now I’m working on the instinctive, albeit harmless no I insist on repeating whenever I’m deciding what to eat at lunchtime. A mango bug and chip and gum sandwich is all I’ve ever said YES to.
There we go again.

Monday, November 10, 2008

It was the 10th at 10 am when I heard, this time. Three years and 8 days ago, we were up saying our Fajr prayers, teary eyed and heavy hearted, the imminent phone call looming over us like a noose tightening its hold with every passing minute. Saying out the words, just under my breath (you are supposed to hear yourself recite, they say), my voice wavering as if I were six again singing the Maya the Bee song in my grey tracksuit. Mina waited, perched at the edge of her unmade bed, still slightly warm as we’d woken up for Sehri only half an hour ago, clutching her red Nokia 3310, ready to answer the call upon the first ring, having forgotten, in the urgency, whether she really wanted to hear the news that morning. I, on the other hand, an escapist as always, sought refuge in prayer, even though my utterances were unintelligible to my own self. And then the phone rang, and we knew it was time.

I have goose bumps on my arm as I write right now, my eyes still slightly swollen, although the morning makeup has left enough traces to mask the evidence. My heart sank today, the way it had sunk that day. I cried today, just like I cried that day. I didn’t sleep well last night and awoke with an ominous heaviness – the kind that doesn’t let your eyes smile, not matter how hard you try. Seeking refuge in the office bathroom, I mourned with you. And even if you can’t hear me or see me, today, I will be the boulder; I will be your shoulder.

Saturday, November 08, 2008


Home-alone and relaxed for once, I had my first Saturday at home in three months. Channel surfing I landed up on a random game show (joy!) called ‘Amnesia’ where the contestants bet money to answer obscure questions from their past/early life. The question Linda (lets pretend, for a personal touch) got was “You used to work at a shoe store with Claire your best friend, and had the biggest crush on a boy called Pierre. Your biggest problem with him was that he was in a band. What was the name of the band?” She answered something to the effect of ‘The Donuts’ but was wrong as the band was called Asphyx or something sounding like that which was Swedish for ‘donut hole’….
Point being, I should have been on that show!

At that very moment I thought of the random-nest thing I could remember. That Maham Ashfaq (a girl in my class in 8th grade, now married with child etc.) haven’t seen for the past 6 years (with the exception of Aqsa’s wedding a few weeks ago) had a waxing woman called Seema who was so good she’d take out the in-growns with her fingers. So Shah kept Seema too. And then everyone wanted Seema. Or Khan’s waxing woman was called Yasmeen (her mothers name), which wasn’t as exciting a detail. However, I kept thinking, and then remembered a lot of other random names, mostly of people’s house workers and drivers. Haha. I really should’ve joined the espionage. Gulab Shah, Rajab Ali, and the clan of drivers, or how everyone had an Alice bathroom cleaner. Taaza Gul, my uncle’s driver in Risalpur, and Khalida & Haneef’s son Bubloo, who was my best friend when we were both six years old. Anyhoo, I guess I’m just a nostalgic person with a great memory. That’s about it.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Do the Motorcycle!

Careless mistake of the day:

(Signing off an email as follows)



Song of the Day:

Im Yours, Jason Mraz

Wisdom of the Day:

I think no one really likes anyone. We’re just killing time.

Food of the Day:

ANYthing but a shami kabab sandwich, please 

Malady of the Day:

Feverish hot flushes

Annoyance of the Day:

“I wasn’t born in this world, In this world who doesn’t care”

(co-worker’s attempt to sing I wish I was a punk rocker)

Risk of the day:

The Heidi frock top

(which looks great on black skinnies Squin!)

Coincidence of the Day:

The Department Intern is Ehsan’s first cousin

The I-wish-I-didn’t-notice detail of the day (actually yesterday):

The same intern (not Ehsan’s cousin, but the one mentioned in a previous post) has a rotten index finger nail on her right hand (corresponding to the mouldy toe nail on her right foot)

Highlight of the day:

“Do the helicopter…do the motorcycle…do the bow and arrow”

I was just told I danced like this.

Saturday, November 01, 2008


I made notes on the Daewoo on my lone journey back home, of my first official trip; Notes about my colleague S, along with my usual list of obscurities and analyses. I was almost there, but couldn’t quite get around to doing it yet. I had made enough jokes and faces about her, to continue the show for all to see. But I’ve been pushed into speaking up. Here goes.

So yeah, S annoyed the crap out of me for many, many (recurring decimal) reasons. The flooded bathroom after doing wuzu, incessant whining (ayyyn!), food complaints, and hysterically buying 7 cakes from United Bakery, because Lahore doesn’t have any cake selling bakeries anymore it seems. Waking up at 7:30 to go to work. Bloody workaholic. I’m sick of the middle class yearning to learn and work and please the boss, ALL the time. However, that’s just me being a brat/snob, having the luxury of not working on a need basis. This is a separate blog entry in itself.

This was supposed to be another weekend spent in the capital city, for a second cousins wedding. I skipped it and went to a Halloween party instead, which probably wasn’t the best of choices to make but fun nonetheless. Sometimes, I like to just stand back and watch people; covert participant observation of sorts. It’s like a bad habit which follows me everywhere. As bad a habit as pressing the spacebar twice after each full stop, from all the report writing I’ve been doing according to the ‘office guidelines’.

I sometimes wish I could just be able to not notice things like my boss’s greasy hair. Or the mutilated toenail on the internees lefts foot; or whether nameless boy in Econ class had shaved his armpits this week or not. Not being able to eat Dean’s cheese and chick on a stick fried in rancid fat is just another on the list. And if only S’s whining, insisting on brushing her teeth after breakfast (‘otherwise I get a fever and rash on my neck’ etc. etc.) and talking at the top of her lungs didn’t bother me. If only I didn’t notice things. Didn’t smell, see, hear things your average Joe wouldn’t give a second thought, sniff, etc. to. Ignorance would truly be bliss. Not being able to smell fresh bananas in the kitchen upon entering the house from the main door, desi ghee in the morning paratha, or the difference between haleeb and halla milk, would’ve been great.
We might as well be cats in the next life.